Born in 1907 in Coyoacán, Mexico, she was a well-known Mexican artist who suffered chronic pain due to fibromyalgia (widespread musculoskeletal pain) and other traumas caused by a bus accident at age 18 that split her spine into three parts, a condition that led her to be in bed much of the time. However, she continued to express herself through painting, revealing this physical and emotional pain through her unfulfilled desire to be a mother. Due to her condition, she was not able to bring her pregnancies to term, and this led her to produce some of her most famous works, such as “Henry Ford Hospital” or “Frida and the Miscarriage.”
Born in 1917 in India, she was the first woman to hold the position of Prime Minister in her country. Her name was taken from her husband, Feroze Gandhi, a politician and journalist who was no relation to the pacifist Mahatma Gandhi. She was educated in Switzerland and England and had a great capacity for oratory. In 1938, she entered the Congressional Party and for the next years, she participated actively in the fight for independence, collaborating with Mahatma Gandhi. In 1966, she made history upon being elected to the Indian Parliament as the new Prime Minister. In May 1984, she was assassinated through the betrayal of two members of her security guard.
Eva Perón NATIONALENCYKLOPEDIN / Wikimedia
María Eva Duarte de Perón, better known as Eva Perón or just as Evita, was born on May 17, 1919 and became an Argentine political leader and actress. She married Juan Domingo Perón in 1945 and became First Lady of Argentina after he became President. She was the president of the Peronist Feminine Party, president of the Eva Perón Foundation, and was officially declared “Spiritual Chief of the Nation” in 1952. Evita was a woman with charisma who did not settle for remaining in the shadow of a man. She had tremendous talent for public speaking and pulling people together. Her family of origin was very poor, so she made the most of her situation as first lady to fight for the rights of workers, with special emphasis on giving women the right to vote.
Rigoberta Menchú Carlos Rodriguez | CC BY-SA 2.0
Born in Guatemala in 1959, she was an indigenous Guatemalan leader, a defender of human rights, UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador, and a Nobel Peace Prize winner. She was an activist for human rights, and from the start of her life she had to deal with poverty, discrimination, and the oppression of the dominant social classes in Guatemala. Her mother and several members of her family were killed by the “death squads.” She fled to Mexico to escape the repression and published her autobiography in 1983, which was picked up by the United Nations. One of her greatest contributions was to denounce the situation of indigenous women in Latin America.
Born in Pakistan on July 12, 1997, she is a Pakistani student, activist, and blogger. She is considered the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, since she received it at age 17 in 2014. Malala is known for her activism for the civil rights of women in Pakistan’s northeastern region, where the Taliban has banned girls from going to school. On October 9, 2012 in Mingora, Malala was shot in the head for defending girls’ right to education. She almost died in the attack, but fortunately was able to recover.
Read more: How Florence Nightingale changed the workplace for women Read more: New historical women statues at Central Park will stand for human dignity Read more: Why Wonder Woman is a worthy feminist heroine This article was originally published in the Spanish edition of Aleteia and has been translated and/or adapted here for English speaking readers.